Views from the Garden

Warm day, lazy start. We were at a concert last night: the latest re-invention of a fine local band called Quill at the Robin2 in Bilston. Very pleasant way to spend a Friday evening.

And across the fences we can hear the PA system from the Family Fun day? Help the Heroes event at the Star pub. Of course: I had forgotten … The Red Devils Parachute display team were opening the event. Sure enough the Loadmaster plane came round and we had great views of the descent. A fine start to an event in a good cause: community and the people who we depend upon to keep us safe.

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I have given the different components umpteen coats of Country Cream paint. I have managed to assemble the pieces and fasten them together (memories of Air fix models of Spitfires, Lancasters, Panzer tanks, a beautiful all-white Catalina and the Bismarck battleship) and re-paint the whole. Now we set about clearing the space in the border where it will be placed. A couple of beetle banks (old turfs that have rotted down but actually still contain unrotted sphagnum moss) and a sack full of hostile dried holly leaves – good thing this Cadiz Arbour (the place spelled differently where Drake “singed the beard of the King of Spain” – though I doubt anyone at the garden centre knew that) has a roof.

While I am putting this final coat on, however the wet paint is assailed by dozens of soldier beetles. This is the first year we have seen this in the garden (as a child I was a little afraid of them as I believed they were bloodsuckers because of their colour) which may have been attracted to the pale colour. Not sure but a couple of them met a sticky end. Sorry guys. I am particularly conscious of the small things in the garden at the moment, having been to watch Marvel’s Ant man at the cinema earlier in the week.

Sitting in the garden reading (The Bat by Jo Nesbo) I notice the industrious leaf cutter bees. First I spy them on the bee hotel on the garden wall, but later see them actually clinging on to the edges of leave on the small leaved lime tree; cutting through, quite precisely avoiding – I guess the tougher ribs – and before falling out of control hovering then zooming away to their nests.

For dinner we have roast chicken. Eaten outside – yes, it is finally warm enough. Wasps come scouting around and when I have pushed my plate away actually start to take apart a piece of chicken I didn’t eat. When the Head Gardener takes the plate away I put the chicken onto a collapsed bottle. The wasp returns time after time. Using it’s mandibles it severs a chunk – about the same size as its own abdomen and flies away with it. Within twenty minutes there is a queue of the insects. Some of them fight: tiny black and yellow yin-yang symbols. I guess these are creatures from different nests as some also sit on the meat, like miniature vultures and pick at it without animosity. They seem unable to do this, however without constantly twitching their abdomens.

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“I am still hungry somehow …” Head Gardener comments.

“There’s a bit of chicken left here if you want it …” I smile.

The look I get in return would reduce a wasp to quivering jelly.





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